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America's Cup: Emirates Team NZ's AC 72 sails for first time

'Emirates Team New Zealand’s sailors Dean Barker, Ray Davies and Adam Beashal consult with Team Weather man Roger Badham on feasabliity of sailing the AC72. 30/7/2012'    Chris Cameron/ETNZ    Click Here to view large photo

Emirates Team New Zealand took its AC72 sailing for the first time on July 31, 2012 - on a cold, wet Auckland winter’s day.

Emirates Team New Zealand sailing the AC72 on the Hauraki Gulf on the second day of sailing. 3/8/2012 -  Chris Cameron-ETNZ   Click Here to view large photo
As a very watery dawn glow started to light Auckland, the AC72 was wheeled from the shed, mated to the wingsail and lifted into the Viaduct Basin.

There it sat while a few last-minute adjustments were made and the crew waited for some breeze.

Sailing time was delayed several times as team meteorologist Roger Badham monitored weather radar and computer models and kept the sailing crew, impatient to leave the dock, informed.

Finally at 1pm the big cat was towed out in the Auckland Harbour and did not return to base until after dark. The breeze was still very light and rain was threatening.

Three chase boats containing designers, engineers, systems experts, boat builders and specialists accompanied the cat, intently watching its every move

The breeze in the outer harbour varied from zero to 8-10 knots and the sea was flat. Rain came in the squalls.

'It is good to get the first sail under our belt,' Grant Dalton said. 'Overall the weather could have been better but the wind was ideal for a first sail. It’s what we had waited for.

Dalton said the day, while unspectacular, was productive. 'We know more about the boat than we did this morning and that’s why we go testing.'

Up to the end of next January, teams are permitted only 30 sailing days in the AC72. Emirates Team New Zealand intends to make every sailing day count.

A sailing say is defined as the yacht releasing the tow for only five minute. The team plans to sail from dawn to dusk when conditions are favourable.


by Warren Douglas

  

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9:00 AM Wed 1 Aug 2012GMT


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Related News Stories:

06 Aug 2012  America's Cup: Emirates Team NZ put caution ahead of valuable testing
06 Aug 2012  America's Cup: Southern Spars completes work for first wingsail
02 Aug 2012  America's Cup - Energy Team will not go ahead with AC72 build
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